Monday, Dec 2 03:54pm
AUTHOR: James Selwyn

Taylor takes Sprintcar title as Larsen loses lead in late collision

The North Island Sprintcar Championship at Western Springs Speedway crowned a returning Sprintcar North Island champ but not the defending titleholder Jamie Larsen after disaster struck with just five laps to go.


The ideal weather conditions were matched by that of the track and the large crowd on hand were treated to nonstop on-track action, big screen replays with the kid's amusements enhancing the family carnival atmosphere.


Notably missing from the small Sprintcar field were Jamie MacDonald who is on a racing hiatus this season and Michael Pickens who chose to race in California in the prestigious Turkey Night Midget Car Grand Prix.


Porirua’s Stephen Taylor added a second North Island Sprintcar title to go with his 2013-14 season win at Baypark. After finishing mid-pack in his 1st heat Taylor showed a clean pair of heels to win the third and final heat from the front grid. This put Taylor on grid 3 for the 25-lap Championship race.


North Island Champ Stephen Taylor


Starting ahead of Taylor was Heat 1 tear away Dean Brindle. The Hikoki sponsored car in lightening quick form finishing 5.8 seconds ahead of the field in the 12-lap heat race. After eight minor podium finishes in this event without a North Island title, veteran Brindle was looking for his first win and showed he had the heat race pace to get the job done.


2012-'13 North Island winner Daniel Eggleton of Pukekohe had fifth and second position heat placing’s that sat him outside the second row at his first hit out of the season.


Pacing outside the features front row was current 2NZ and defending North Island Champ Jamie Larsen. Larsen looked to be the man to beat in the feature.


Having claimed the title at Palmerston North and now with a car gaining speed each meeting Jamie Larsen won the start and set about driving off into the sunset as Brindle lost five spots in as many laps, conceding positions to Eggleton and Taylor in the opening laps.


Jamie Larsen leads heat race

Larsen held the lead unopposed for 20 laps until becoming unstuck with backmarker contact damaging his steering. Ending his night parked up on the infield in what looked like an assured defence of his Championship. No one coming within half a second of his fastest lap, a speed difference equivalent to lapping the entire field in 28 laps.

Another of the cars to pass Brindle early was the current South Island Sprintcar Champion Matthew Leversedge of Christchurch.

Leversedge in the Toyco sponsored car had towed his primary car to Auckland earlier in the season and had a second car for sale in Canterbury capable of winning as witnessed by last week’s Ruapuna Speedway feature victory aboard the back-up mount.


Eggleton 2nd, Taylor 1st, Leversedge 3rd

Larsen’s exit handed the lead and win to Taylor who said of inheriting the lead; “I hate to take a win that way. I saw Jamie with his front end out but we’ve given him plenty on a platter so I suppose it’s my turn to take one.”


Joined by his Sprintcar racing Father Ian Taylor the pair delighted in the win, especially doing so north of the Bombay’s.

Eggleton was second with Leversedge third. Dion Kendal was fourth with Brindle fifth and Tokoroa’s Keaton Dahm sixth.

Apparent are the deep racing roots in speedway with early race leader Larsen and the top 6 finishers all being second or third generation speedway drivers.

The North Island Sprintcar scene now turns its attention to next week’s Porter Hire International Sprintcar Series where top talent from the USA and Australia hit our shores for series opening action at Western Springs on 7th December, mid-week on 12th Thursday at Baypark Speedway and the series final back at Western Springs on the 14th. Look for a series preview later this week.


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